Boomkat Product Review:
Dead bonny Scots and Gaelic folk traditionals played faithful to form by Scottish folkie Alasdair Roberts. Done in a style inspired by a life of living haunted houses and traversing the Gaelic world researching its oral and musical history and sustaining folk traditions in a proper old skool role. Crack out your Arrans, stoke the hearth, and pour a dram for this one
“I am indebted to my piping friend Donald Lindsay for The Blythsome Bridal, The Braes of Tulliemet and The Smith’s a Gallant Fireman, while Chief O’Neill’s Favourite and The Flowers of Edinburgh were learnt from my fiddling friend Neil McDermott. The Blythsome Bridal is used as the melody to a comic lyric called ‘Fy Let Us A’ To The Bridal’ first published in 1706. The Braes of Tulliemet lie near the Perthshire town of Pitlochry. The Smith’s a Gallant Fireman is also known as ‘Carrick’s Rant’. Chief O’Neill was Francis O’Neill (1848-1936), who was born in County Cork, emigrated to the USA as a young man and eventually became chief of the Chicago Police from 1901 to 1905. The Flowers of Edinburgh was first published in James Oswald’s Caledonian Pocket Companion around 1760. The guitars are fretted in the following positions as the tunes appear on the record: II, II, V, VII and V.
My family stayed in a haunted house in the village of Balquhidder for a very short while in the early 1980s after moving from Germany to Scotland. However, I only took to singing The Braes of Balquhidder very recently after hearing a recording of it sung by the late Tim Lyons. The Seasons was learnt from the singing of the late Aberdeen singer Lizzie Higgins, daughter of Jeannie Robertson. Edinburgh-based Ulsterman Cathal McConnell knows many fine songs, most of which are collected in his book/CD set I Have Travelled This Country. I learnt this version of The Curragh of Kildare from that source. The late Sheila Stewart of Rattray, near Blairgowrie, is the source of my version of False, False. I would be unable to attribute my singing of Roberts Burns’ The Silver Tassie to a single source, owing to its general popularity in Scotland. I am forever indebted to all the fine singers and musicians mentioned above, and to many others unmentioned, for passing on songs and tunes to me over the years.”